One of Santa's helpers took a tour of the Haggin Oaks Super Shop on Tuesday to assist the big guy with making a list for the golfers in his life.
The helper found plenty of new technology, gift ideas and fun stuff. But understandably distracted like a kid in a candy store, he was careless with his notes, allowing for a peek.
Here are the highlights:
Spikeless golf shoes are the wave of the future.
They're functional, fashionable, personal and say, "Merry Christmas, honey, I love you," without breaking the bank. They also are something you can put under the tree with a decent chance of surprising and fitting, unlike many other golf gifts.
Spikeless shoes make up 22 percent of the golf shoe market, said Jerry Anderson, Haggin's shoe manager/buyer. That's up from less than 1 percent in 2009, when Fred Couples first flashed a pair of Eccos.
"They've gone from a little dot to a big, huge blip," Anderson said of the spikeless surge.
The Danish manufacturer is still king of the spikeless market, especially when it comes to color options and style, but the battle has been joined by all the golf shoe companies.
The range in price is $85 to $190.
Spikeless shoes can be worn to the course, at the course and home from the course. Their nubs last as long as three sets of soft spikes "before they become a street shoe," Anderson said.
One downside: They're not as effective in muddy conditions.
Load up on shirts with anti-microbial properties.
Or, as Erin Morton, Haggin's apparel buyer calls it, "the no-stink factor."
Synthetic fibers have been a boon for golfers for years because of their comfort, longevity, moisture control and sun protection. Problem is, they've held body odor. Not anymore, to the delight of spouses everywhere.
Good thing, too, since "ninety-eight percent of our inventory is tech fabric," Morton said.
Two other functional-yet-fun apparel items to consider that are sure to fit that lucky someone:
Sun sleeves ($25-$30) protect your forearms from the sun's harmful rays. They're worn with short-sleeved shirts and come in colors and patterns as dull or exotic as you like.
Think of web belts ($20) like seat belts that hold your pants up, but way cooler, Morton said. They're unisex, come in colors galore and one size fits all just strap one on and cut off the excess.
Get used to drivers with moving parts.
Most companies roll out their new clubs and marketing campaigns in January or February, and this year is no exception. What's different is, almost every driver will have a head that's adjustable for loft and face angle.
"Very few are going to be sold anymore without it," said Ken Morton Jr., Haggin's vice president of retail and marketing.
Titleist (913), Cobra (Zero Limit Encore) and Ping (Anser) are among the manufacturers with new drivers already on the market. The Titleist driver offers both adjustments, while the Cobra and Ping drivers offer just a face-angle adjustment until early next year. All three clubs are $400.
Morton said driver makers are building wider heads with the center of gravity moving away from the face to create more forgiveness and an optimum launch angle and spin rate.
"We're still seeing additions to distance, but the improvements are far more dramatic on mis-hits," Morton said. "We're seeing a loss of only 1 to 2 percent of energy even on toe hits."
Other equipment developments:
Cleveland's 588-RTX wedges (46 to 64 degrees) that incorporate traditional grooves, microgrooves and circular milling intended to recover all the spin lost via recent United States Golf Association groove rulings. Each wedge is $120.
Ping's Serene putter ($150 to $180) for women has variable groove-depth technology that's supposed to provide unparalleled consistency across the face. "It's very rare that ladies get new technology before men," Morton said.
As for balls, it's simple: Yellow is the new white. Santa isn't interested in rangefinders this year.